ancient Babylon, fingerprints
were used on clay tablets for business transactions. In ancient China,
prints were found on clay seals [image]. In 14th century Persia,
various official government papers had fingerprints (impressions), and
one government official, a doctor, observed that no two fingerprints
were exactly alike." -- The History of Fingerprinting
Here's how Homer describes Odysseus' helmet -- a piece of stolen property BTW:
On his head he put a helmet made of leather, without crest or plume, what people call a skull-cap. It protected heads of brave young men. Meriones gave Odysseus bow, quiver, and a sword. On his head Odysseus set a hide cap, on the inside skillfully reinforced with leather thongs. Outside, wild boars' white teeth were placed here and there, strategically and well. In between these layers was a piece of felt. This cap had once been stolen by Autolycus, from Amyntor, Ormenus' son. He'd broken in his well-built home in Eleon. Some time later, Autolycus gave it to Amphidamas of Cythera, to take to his home in Scandeia. Amphidamas then gave the cap to Molus, as a present for his hospitality. Molus later gave it to his son Meriones. And now it sat there, covering Odysseus' head.
The Dendra panoply is a full set of not-particularly-stylish Mycenaean armor from the late 15th century BC. Wikipedia provides details:
The panoply’s cuirass consists of two pieces, for the chest and back.
These are joined on the left side by a hinge. There is a bronze loop on
the right side of the front-plate and a similar loop on each shoulder.
Large shoulder-guards fit over the cuirass. Two triangular plates are
attached to the shoulder-guards and gave protection to the wearer’s
armpits when his arms were in the raised position. There is also a deep
neck-guard. The Linear B ideogram depicting armour of this type makes
the neck-guard clearly discernible, and protection by a high bronze
collar was a typical feature of Near Eastern body armour. Three pairs
of curved plates hang from the waist to protect the groin and the
thighs. All these pieces are made of beaten bronze sheet and are backed
with leather and loosely fastened by ox-hide thongs to allow some
degree of movement. The complete panoply thus forms a cumbersome
tubular suit of armour, which fully protects the neck and torso, and
extends down to the knees. It appears that lower arm-guards and a set
of greaves further protected the warrior, all made of bronze, as
fragments of these were also found in the grave at Dendra. Slivers of
boars’ tusks were also discovered, which once made up a boars’-tusk
It might have protected you from death, but it would have made you look really dumpy, especially around the thighs. Fortunately, this style was superseded by one with a cute little kilt that was designed roughly in time for the Trojan War so it would look good on Brad Pitt for the movie version.
Volcanologist Claudio Scarpati, and colleagues Giuseppe Luongo and
Annamaria Perrotta of the University of Naples Federico II in Italy,
analyzed layers of volcanic deposits in a Pompeian house [the house of Polybius] and examined
13 skeletons found there on a carpet of pumice to reconstruct the
events that occurred when the eruption was in progress. . . .
By examining the density of volcanic deposits in relation to an
accumulation rate of six inches per hour, the researchers concluded
that it took up to six hours for the roofs of Polybius' house to
At around 7:00 p.m., by which time the front part the house had
collapsed, the inhabitants took shelter in the rear rooms, whose
steeper roofs had not been damaged by the falling material. . .
Between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m., a final phase, punctuated by more pumice rain, buried Pompeii [and] the solid roofs of Polybius' house collapsed.
Much more detailed information and photos at the link.
Based on charred remains of plant material found at hot rock oven
sites [across North America], cooked versions of [a] root vegetable [called the camas bulb] -- somewhat like a cross
between an onion and a potato -- is thought to have been the tortilla
of the Stone Age.
The bulbs required up to two days to bake, due to a complex carbohydrate called inulin that is otherwise indigestible.
Alston Thoms, who conducted [two] studies [on the rock ovens], told Discovery News that
"camas consumption preceded corn consumption everywhere in the U.S. by
thousands of years."
The Quamash was a food source for quite a number of native peoples
in the western United States and Canada. After being harvested in the
autumn, once the flowers have withered, the bulbs were pit-roasted or boiled. A pit cooked camas bulb looks and tastes something like baked sweet potato, but sweeter, and with more crystalline fibers due to the presence of inulin in the bulbs. When dried, the bulbs could be pounded into flour. Native American tribes who ate camas include the Nez Perce, Cree, Coast Salish, Lummi, and Blackfoottribes, among many others. Camas bulbs contributed to the survival of members of the expedition of Lewis and Clark (1804-1806).
Though the once-immense spreads of camas lands have diminished because of modern developments and agriculture, numerous Camas prairies and marshes may still be seen today.
Warning: While Camassia species are edible and nutritious, the white-flowered Deathcamas species (which are not the genus Camassia, but part of the genus Zigadenus)
that grow in the same areas are toxic, and the bulbs are quite similar.
It is easiest to tell the plants apart when they are in flower.
Scientists have discovered that prehistoric cave paintings took up to 20,000 years to complete.
than being created in one session, as archaeologists previously
thought, many of the works discovered across Europe were produced over
hundreds of generations who added to, refreshed and painted over the
original pieces of art. . . .
Dr [Alistair] Pike and his team were able to date the paintings using a technique
known as uranium series dating, which was originally developed by
geologists to date rock formations such as stalactites and stalagmites
As water seeps through a cave, it carries extremely
low levels of dissolved radioactive uranium along with the mineral
Over time small amounts of calcium carbonate are deposited to form hard
layer over the paintings and this layer also traps the uranium. Due to
its radioactive properties, the uranium slowly decays to become another
element known as thorium.
By comparing the ratio of uranium to thorium in
the thin layers on top of the cave art, the researchers were able to
calculate the age of the paintings.
This is a bit more interesting that the ordinary Jesus on a slice of toast or the Blessed Virgin on a window screen, as Discovery News reports:
A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist
Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to
between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that
is engraved with what they believe could be the world's first known
reference to Christ.
If the word "Christ" refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ,
as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that
Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.
The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,"
which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, "by
Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ."
This doesn't mean it belonged to Him, by the way. It's not like He put His name on it so Peter wouldn't keep borrowing it to mix up his shaving soap. (In any event, it was found in the underwater ruins of ancient Alexandria.) It is interesting if it's an early non-Biblical reference from so far away. The dating seems to be an issue, though, as the engraving was "made on the thin-walled ceramic bowl after it was fired, since slip was removed during the process." The article doesn't explain whether the engraving itself can be dated independently of the artifact.